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What to do on high fire risk days

This is our personal readiness checklist. Part of this plan is posted on the noticeboard by the back door.

Each member of the family should have a survival box. Have permanently packed in an easy-to-access location in the event of fire. The survival box should contain the following:

  • Protective clothing:
    -- heavy-duty drill cotton overalls (preferably fire retarded)
    -- sturdy shoes
    -- long cotton/wool trousers or jeans
    -- long-sleeved cotton shirt which does up to the neck
    -- cotton underwear
    -- strong brimmed hat that can be tied on
    -- woollen balaclava that covers face
    -- leather or canvas garden gloves
    -- protective goggles
    -- water bottle for misting eyes and face
    -- eyedrops or 'artificial tears' to prevent eyes from drying out
    -- smoke-filtering respiratory mask, or cotton handkerchief, nappy, flannel
  • A pure wool fire blanket , or textured fibreglass blanket which should be large enough to cover you completely when crouched or lying down.
  • Drinking water
  • All required prescription medication if needed
  • A tube or zink cream or reflective skin cream to protect the forehead and nose.
  • A small first aid kit .
  • Spare keys to house, car, shed and other important places.
  • Spare wallet with identification, credit card and/or some cash.
  • Flashlight with plenty of extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio

On high fire risk days with a total fire ban

  • Go over evacuation plan with everyone
  • Listen to battery-operated radio for reports and evacuation information.
  • Put on your protective clothing
  • DRINK PLENTY OF WATER . Even when you are not thirsty.
  • Get car ready, facing in the direction of escape, with key in the ignition, windows wound up.
  • Put valuables, survival boxes, fire blankets and plenty of water in the car
  • Give pets lots of water, remove straw and debris.
  • Prepare bushfire fighting gear for readiness
  • Stop downpipes and fill gutter with water
  • Remove outside furniture off veranda (put on lawn)
  • Close windows and doors
  • Put up protecting screens on windows
  • Take down bamboo blinds, move furniture away from windows, paper/books away from windows
  • Drape woollen blankets over other flammable items that cannot be concealed
  • Move furniture away from windows and place apart
  • Put non-flammable draught stoppers at doors and in keyholes
  • Close all internal doors to help prevent fire spreading should an ignition occur in one of the rooms
  • Take down hanging baskets
  • Clear guttering of leaves
  • Connect garden hoses to garden sprinklers, ready to turn on.
  • Fill buckets and place around on paths near house
  • Fill metal containers with water and place at vulnerable points around the house
  • Fill bath and sinks with water
  • Clear yard and under the house of rubbish and other flammables


•  Start fire fighting pump and activate sprinkler system
•  Turn on garden sprinklers
•  Check animals, open cages
•  Stay inside until fire front has passed, then put out spot fires.


This list was compiled a few years ago - most of the work has been completed, but some
is ongoing maintenance and needs to be done each year before the fire danger season starts.



•  thin grapevine and passionfruit on pergola, cut out deadwood
•  remove wooden stuff from under house
•  thin out shrubs and trees around house
•  prune and thin shrubs through the orchard
•  trim low branches from deciduous trees
•  remove highly flammable plants near house
•  dig earth shelter and cover for guinea pigs
•  plant more agapanthus, succulents around house
•  remove weeds and grass from driveways and path
•  remove plants growing against walls
•  move pot plants away from walls

•  buy overalls to fit everyone for survival box
•  buy goggles for everyone for survival box
•  buy pure wool balaclavas for survival box
•  create survival box and keep by back door
•  buy and fix security wire mesh screen doors as removable storm/fire protectors to front windows
•  replace fly wire in all windows with wire mesh
•  fill gaps that embers can lodge into on walls, fascias, etc
•  paint outside of house, activity room, pergolas and deck, with fire-resistant paint (pay to have done?)
•  fit metal external door seals to prevent spark entry
•  redo foam seals on windows and doors
•  install spray sprinklers on windows and walls
•  install sprinkler system on veranda
•  install wire mesh blinds on outside edge of front veranda
•  make sure safety valves on gas bottles face away from house, buy or make hood/cover from fire-retardant tarpaulin




photos of the ever changing view of the coast from our living room window
Our ever-changing view!
Moonset ~ Roll Cloud ~ Sunset

permaculture ethics
care for earth,
care for people,
return surplus,
reduce consumption

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Copyright © Beverley Paine 2002-14. Article from this website may be downloaded, reproduced, and distributed without permission as long as each copy includes this entire notice along with citation information (i.e., name of the periodical in which it originally appeared, date of publication, and author's name). Permission must be obtained from the author in order to reprint this article in a published work or to offer it for sale in any form. Please visit Bungala Ridge Permaculture Gardens for more original content by Beverley Paine.